An early flying lap from Katsumasa Chiyo was enough to give KCMG’s #018 Nissan the fastest time as darkness fell during the second free practice session at Suzuka, while Audi Sport Team WRT was quickest of the Intercontinental GT Challenge entries in second overall.
Takeshi Kimura’s accident in the CarGuy Racing Honda caused the only stoppage in an otherwise trouble-free 90-minute session that started at dusk and ended in darkness, just like this Sunday’s 10-hour race.
All of the top seven, which comprised five different manufacturers, set their fastest times in the first six laps. But it was Chiyo’s 2m03.183s effort that proved to be the quickest of the session and the weekend so far.
The Japanese driver finished 0.145s clear of Team WRT’s Dries Vanthoor and another 0.4s ahead of Raffaele Marciello’s GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG, which once again finished amongst the front-runners.
Andrea Caldarelli’s JLOC Lamborghini was next up, Craft-Bamboo’s FP1 pace-setting Porsche finished fifth, and Audi Sport Team Absolute Racing rounded out a top-six covered by 0.8s.
Strakka Racing’s #44 Mercedes-AMG beat the leading Pro Am entry, the HubAuto Corsa-run #28 Ferrari was seventh, while Manthey Racing and CarGuy Racing, whose NSX ended the session in the barriers with 35 minutes remaining, completed the top-10.
The Suzuka 10 Hours’ four-part qualifying session takes centre stage at 13:00 on Saturday when the top-20 cars from the first three segments progress to a 15-minute winner-takes-pole shootout.